The myth of Cassandra

In Greek mythology, Cassandra was one of the princesses of Troy, daughter of Priam and Hecuba. According to the Myth, Cassandra was astonishingly beautiful and blessed with the gift of foreseeing the future. Her curse was that no one believed her, a fact that weighed heavily on the destruction of Troy during the Trojan War.

The Myth of Cassandra

kassandra-1There are several different versions explaining the gift and curse of Cassandra; the most popular one is that God Apollo fell in love with her and granted her with the gift of prophecy. When Cassandra denied the God and his advances, he placed a curse on her, so that no one would believe her words or her predictions. He gave her a gift that would bring frustration and despair to her.

In the tragedy Agamemnon, Cassandra appears to suggest the God to become hic consort but then breaks her promise, causing his wrath. Thus, Apollo left her the gift of prophecy but cursed her so that no one could or would believe her.

According to the second version, Cassandra went to the Temple of Apollo in Troy and his little Temple Snakes licked her ears, allowing her to listen to the future. This theme is not unknown in Greek Mythology, as the snakes of Apollo have appeared in different myths and versions, allowing people to foresee the future and understand the language of animals.

Cassandra and Troy

Cassandra foresaw the destruction of Troy by the Greeks; when the Trojans found the big wooden horse outside the gates of their city Cassandra told them that Greeks will destroy them if they bring the horse in the city. The historical facts are not clear but the famous phrase “Beware of Danaos (Greeks) bearing gifts” belongs to her, although there are also different versions about this phrase as well, since it was stated by different persons in tragedy “Ajax” and Virgil’s “Aeneid”. No one in Troy believed her, and the horse was admitted in the city, with the known results for Troy.

When Troy fell to the Greeks, Cassandra tried to find a shelter in Athena’s Temple, but she was brutally abducted by Ajax and was brought to Agamemnon as a concubine. Cassandra died in Mycenae, murdered along with Agamemnon by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus.

The Cassandra Syndrome

Based on the myth of Cassandra there is a modern syndrome and metaphor recognized by experts; the Cassandra syndrome or complex, which is applied in cases of valid alarms which are disbelieved. The syndrome applies mostly in psychology and politics or science, and it was named by the French Philosopher Gaston Bachelard in 1949.

16 thoughts on “The myth of Cassandra”

  1. I was bored one day long ago so i looked up my name… which is cassandra, then i learned of this and i love greek myths and everything i was amazed of this. So i decided i would look it up. I learn more of it everyday and im writing a play about cassandra and apollo and with her family and the war, i really liked this artical

  2. i was curious of the myth of Cassandra, and I was also curios because that happens to me all of the time (not being heard or believed), i am happy to be named Cassandra.

  3. what a nice story I am very addicted about Greek Myth so I need to know most of it and the only one missing is about Cassandra

  4. I think Cassandra is a beautiful name.

    A fine point, and not particularly related. But it’s always puzzled me why we keep mistranslating a simple statement. It’s not “I fear Greeks bearing gifts,” but rather, “I fear Greeks, even (those) bringing gifts.” In other words, the Greeks were never to be trusted. It’s all in the “et.”

    “Timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.”

    And perhaps it could even be translated, “I fear Greeks, especially those bearing gifts.”

  5. This is very interesting to me. I have always felt that I had a foresight of things and have never clearly been heard…until it happens. It has helped me to more understand the person that I am…Cassandra.

  6. I have loved Greek myths and I love to think about what kind of Gods and Goddesses we would need today and what kind of myths we would have

  7. I came to know this story through the track by ABBA “Cassandra “. Because of my love for the song, I decided to read and know more about it, then I came to learn other tragic and unfortunate story of Cassandra of Troy, I wouldn’t stop listening to the music. I love Greek mythologies, but this one is outstanding. Pity Cassandra.

  8. I hope some random reader in 10, 20, 30+ years sees this and thinks about how fragile and beautiful the present is. Stop and take it in for a moment.


Leave a Comment

Greek Myths & Greek Mythology